Guidelines

How we helped the Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics upgrade their branding

The Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (WAFCC) is an advocate for the State’s ninety free & charitable clinics. The organization provides state advocacy, education opportunities, consulting services, and telehealth services to clinics. WAFCC fosters collaboration, networking, and resource-sharing. They selected Jill B Gilbert for two branding initiatives–brand guidelines and a custom presentation template consistent with these new guidelines. 

Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are the rules an organization–large or small–follows to ensure their brand is consistent across various digital and print communications.  These guidelines typically communicate the organization’s voice, style, logo, type, and colors. 

They show the accepted use of the logo, any color variations, and placement, including  very important “Do’s and Don’ts.” If an organization uses specific graphic styles, icons, or illustrations, the guidelines contain these, too.

Brand Guidelines are meant to be flexible, changing as the organization grows and changes. The WAFCC Brand Guidelines are a living document, soon to be updated with examples from the new slide presentation template. 

Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (WAFCC) Brand Guidelines Mockup
Brand Guidelines | Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics
"I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANYONE TO WORK WITH JILL. SHE HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE, IS VERY KIND, RESPONSIVE, AND DID A WONDERFUL JOB ON OUR VISUAL BRAND GUIDE."​
Heather Ule
WAFCC

Presentation Template

The most common methods of communication are email,  PowerPoint (/Google Slides/Keynote/Other) presentations, and social media. 

Branding is important in slide presentations, because it sets the tone for your organization’s message. Consistent style and message are key!

Jill B Gilbert designed a template that was a great match for WAFCC’s message and style needs. 

"This was my second project with WAFCC. I enjoyed working with Heather and building a relationship. We plan to work together on more projects in the future."
Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Slide Presentation Template
Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics | Presentation Template
Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Consulting, Corporate Identity, Design, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography

Approaches to branding multiple products or services under one business

I have a client that needs graphic design work for multiple brands, and wants all of their brands in a single portfolio. Their services generally target the same audience, and the audience can choose one or more services; these services do not compete with one another. My client seeks consistency in the way they portray the different services in digital and print media. 

If your organization manages more than one brand, you have different options to manage them. Your branding strategy–key to your marketing strategy–depends on your target audience and customers. 

Whether you already have several brands, or you anticipate new product or service lines, you can find a structure that works for your organization.

Individual Brands or Parent and Sub-Brands

Two options for managing multiple brands are:

  1. a multi-brand strategy with individual brands for each product/service, and
  2. a single, parent brand with multiple sub-brands. 

If the products or services aim to fulfill different purposes or have different visions, you may want to to separate your brands. If your products or services reflect an overarching vision or purpose, you might choose the parent/sub-brand option.

Your company’s vision, values, customers, and market position can guide your choice of options. 

  • Who are your customer segments?
  • Do your products/services target vastly different segments?
  • Do these differing segments want to be associated with one another?
  • If you plan a new product/service, does it reflect your existing brand’s deeper purpose and vision, or does it reflect a new purpose and vision?

Examples

Multi-brand strategy

Procter & Gamble uses a multi-brand strategy, with individual brands for each product line. Some of their product lines include Tide, Gain, Crest, Pampers, Bounty, Swiffer, Oral B, and Gillette. Some of their products compete with each other, for example, Tide and Gain, but Procter & Gamble gets a piece of the laundry market share from both products, aimed at different consumers. 

Parent brand and sub-brand strategy

Adobe has multiple products under a single brand. Creative Cloud, their main product line, includes Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Lightroom, and more. Adobe markets Creative Cloud to very different audiences, and allows individual users and teams to select the apps that best meet their graphic design, photography, and other creative needs. 

 

Adobe Creative Cloud includes over 20 desktop and mobile apps

In closing, if your organization manages several brands, make sure that you have a clear strategy. And make sure to document this strategy and also provide clear brand guidelines so you can communicate consistently and clearly with your target audience. 

References

Pruitt, Jeff, Approaches to Branding Multiple Brands, Inc. Magazine, accessed 02 November 2021.

Pruitt, Jeff, 4 Branding Structures When Multiple Products and Services are Involved, Inc. Magazine, accessed 02 November 2021.

Dearth, Brian, Multi-Brand Strategy: 5 Top Trends in 2021, Vaimo, accessed 14 January 2022.

Adobe Creative Cloud, accessed 14 January 2022. 

Procter & Gamble Brands, accessed 14 January 2022. 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Corporate Identity, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography

A less messy approach to using Adobe Lightroom Classic (LrC)

It’s easy to make a mess of thousands of digital photos, just like cramming a bunch of photo prints and negatives into shoeboxes. Without labeling the shoeboxes and photo print envelopes, there’s no way to quickly find a particular photo. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to organize your digital photos and find what you need when you need it?

I am midway through a fine arts photography class that starts with analog (black & white film) and ends with digital photography. I thought it was time to really learn how to use Adobe Lightroom Classic to my advantage.  With fewer than 2000 digital images taken since I purchased my digital SLR (DSLR), it’s about time to get organized… before the number grows too large to manage!

Today I watched a video presented by Tim Grey on the B&H Photo Event Space called, “Avoiding a Mess in Lightroom Classic.” My thoughts on the video? Tim’s advice is great for mid-level to professional photographers who have LOTS of digital photos. Some of the advice is probably not as helpful for students who will take 1-2 photo classes and not catalog their photos again. 

This post applies to features found in the Classic software. It focuses on organizing your photos, not photo editing capabilities. Read on to learn a few secrets of managing LrC, or as I call it, a Less Messy Approach.

What is Lightroom Classic?

Adobe offers two versions of Lightroom; the newer, Cloud-based known as Lightroom, and the original, desktop software, now known as Lightroom Classic (see screenshot, right). 

Lightroom Classic is more powerful than Lightroom, and geared more to professional photographers. Learn more about the two different products on the Adobe website here

Screen Shot of Lightroom Classic, Adobe Creative Cloud 2021

A Less Messy Approach to Using Adobe Lightroom Classic

Tim Grey is a leading educator in digital photography and imaging. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events around the world.

His advice on using Adobe Lightroom Classic (LrC):

  • Initiate everything in LrC. This avoids problems with moved photos and renamed folders.
  • Make sure you understand how LrC works.  The LrC catalog contains information about the photos; the photos are stored separately. If you rename folders and photos on your hard drive, LrC thinks they are missing when you look for them later. 
  • Tidy up photos before using LrC. Get rid of photos you don’t plan to use. Clean up your folder structure. Then import photos. You can create, rename, and move folders after you import photos to the catalog. 
  • Use a single LrC catalog. Tim has 400,000 photos in his catalog, so it takes a bit longer to load LrC, but he does not see performance issues with LrC.
  • Consolidate photo storage. Use a single hard drive or external hard drive as the top level for photo storage. This makes it easier to locate a photo later. 
  • Avoid date-based folders. You may not remember when you took a photo, so easier to label folder with who, what, or where photos taken. You can use dates if needed, just not as the first part of the folder name.
  • Create a meaningful and consistent folder structure. Something that works for you. Keep folder structure relatively flat.
  • Make full use of the import feature. Don’t download photos to your hard drive first. Copy photos from your media card and add photos already on your computer to the catalog. Use file handling, file renaming, apply during import, and destination settings.
  • Back up your catalog. Remember, the catalog is separate from your photos. Backup feature allows you to test the integrity of the catalog and optimize it after backup.
  • Back up your photos. Photos are separate from the catalog. Tim uses GoodSync; you might use OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, etc.
  • Create a consistent image review workflow.
  • Get familiar with filters. In the Library tab, in Grid mode [G], use the backslash [\] to access the filter bar above the image thumbnails.
  • Preserve metadata. Use Catalog Settings and Editing capabilities. You should include develop settings in metadata inside your image files. This way, you maintain the metadata if your LrC catalog gets corrupted.
Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Guidelines

Eight Million Stories, Inc. selects Jill B Gilbert to create a brand for a new school

The Justice Hub School | Original Brand
The Justice Hub School | Original Brand

Marvin Pierre is Executive Director of Eight Million Stories, Inc., a nonprofit founded in 2017 to support disconnected youth in Houston, Texas. Building upon the success of Eight Million Stories, he is founding a new school in Houston’s Third Ward. Marvin chose Jill B Gilbert to create a brand for The Justice Hub School that is attractive, edgy and has an urban feel. This project also included development of a brand guidelines document that will grow with the organization.

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Art, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Design, Education, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Typography, 0 comments

Komolova Log Works Selects Jill B Gilbert to Create a New Brand

Komolova Log Works logo in full color, all black and all white
Komolova Log Works | Logo & Visual Brand Guide

When Eric and Nancy Raup needed a brand for Eric’s craft furniture and decor business, they immediately thought of Jill B Gilbert.

After identifying Komolova Log Works’ needs, Jill created three design concepts. After further discussions and iterations, Komolova revealed that they wanted to include an owl. 

Here is the result—a playful owl standing on a tree branch. The logo, tag line, and color palette work together to communicate the brand, as well as the rustic setting for the business. 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert, 0 comments

Should you build your own website, or hire a professional?

If your organization’s website needs a major refresh, you can hire a professional or build it yourself. After all, thousands of free and paid website templates are available, and website building tools are better than ever before. TV and social media ads make it look so easy to build a website! Let’s look at some of the questions to answer before you make a “build or buy” decision.

Website “build vs. buy” questions

What are your objectives? Why do you want to change your site? You may want to refresh your site because it is outdated, because your company is growing or adding products or services, to start a blog, to add the ability to sell products or services online, or for other reasons. Think about the technical and financial objective you want to achieve.

What types of changes do you need? You might be thinking of a total new look and feel, a change to the website structure, or both. Maybe you need a media library to easily store and retrieve images, videos, etc. You might need entire new features, e.g., a blog or e-commerce capabilities. You simply might want a new website that is easier to maintain in-house, rather than hiring a web professional to make changes each time you need them.

How is your current website built? Is it written (coded) in HTML + CSS, or is it built on one of the new platforms like WordPress, SquareSpace, WIX, or other? If it is an HTML site, you will need to know how to write code. If it built on one of the newer platforms, you may be able to build your own site; it may look professional but, depending on your HTML know-how, the site can be a mess behind the scenes. Yes, you read that right! This is because you cannot refresh these sites just by applying a new theme. Many of the current “drag-and-drop” website themes have widgets, code blocks, and other complexities. These site elements may not work in the new theme without a lot of tweaking.

How tech-savvy are you? If you are a lover of things tech, and the first of your friends to get the latest electronics, and you are committed to doing site updates yourself in the future, then building a website may be for you. If you use computers, social media and smartphones every day, but rarely update your electronics or software, this is a warning sign that you should speak to a web designer. But read further…

What is your timeline? If you need it quickly and can effectively plan and build a website, then do-it-yourself might work for you. Just keep your project objectives in mind, spend adequate time planning, get advice as needed, and go for it! If you need it quickly, don’t even consider slapping something together quickly to get a new, improved website up and running. This will do more harm than good. If you have a reasonable timeline, then you have plenty of options, both do-it-yourself and professionally-built.

What will it cost? First, think about the value that the website updates will bring to your company in terms of new clients, more business, and better market penetration. Second, consider the total cost to your organization. This is a cost-benefit issue, not the price tag to get the site up and running. If web development or computer coding are not your core business, you may find yourself spending hours updating the website yourself, at a significant cost to you in terms of lost revenue, missed marketing opportunities, missed new clients, etc. Third, what are the ongoing maintenance and update costs for the next three to five years?

Congratulations! If you have read this far, you now have more questions than answers! At the least, you understand some of the “build vs. buy” issues, and the many choices available to you. If you still have questions about what is best for you, please consult a professional. A short discussion could save you hours of time and a stack of money.

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Consulting, Design, Guidelines, Web Design

Looking for design inspiration? Try these blogs…

Most designers do not just wake up in the morning, feeling inspired. Something they see or do gets their creative juices flowing. I often find my inspiration on the Internet, and I follow several design blogs. If you don’t know where to look, here is a compilation of 20 design and development blogs to follow. It includes several I have followed for years, plus some new ones I am eager to try… if only there were more hours in the day!

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Design, Guidelines, Web Design

Develop style guides for your design projects

Whether you are developing a 50-page Website, a small mobile phone app, or an annual report for a corporate client, you should get in the habit of developing a style guide.

Branding and style guides are important for projects large and small. They help to provide consistent messages about an organization and provide a degree of professionalism. Creative Bloq has a good post on this topic, with examples of thirteen style guides for famous organizations.

Client project style guide

The client’s goal was to refresh their brand and their Web site to draw more customers to their wellness practice and retail establishment. I prepared a simple style guide, using Adobe Illustrator. The Style Guide displays the brand, color chips for main and accent colors, typography and usage examples:

Style Guide | Nature’s Garden

Here is how the styles look when applied to a “mobile first” Website design. Note how the colors and the leaf motif are repeated throughout the page. The design works well on a smartphone, on a tablet or on a large HD screen.

Mobile View | Nature’s Garden
Responsive Home Page on Retina Display

University style guide

On a whim, I researched my alma mater’s color and brand guidelines. The Miami University is a nationally recognized Public Ivy, and its brand is particularly important. The brand must convey the Public Ivy experience.

The University uses different reds for print, Web and merchandise use. Several formal and informal logos are available for these uses. The use of certain “vintage” logos requires special permission.

The branding guidelines include logos, colors, typography and graphic elements. They encompass Web, print publications, social media, photos, use in athletic programs and more.

How people – alumni, students, future students, faculty and staff, fans, donors, and the public at large – feel about Miami University directly relates to the University’s success. In a sense, the brand speaks on the University’s behalf without saying a word. It represents who we are and what we stand for. It is the visual representation of our reputation.

Miami University Brand Guidelines

Here is the “M” spirit mark often used on sportswear and signs.

The Miami University Spirit Mark

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography, Web Design